I am trying to import contacts as .csv file, however when I try to upload it I get an error message saying that the input file must be in a CSV format - which it is!
I'm using a Mac and I've read that Mac Excel (which I've used to convert the initial xls file into csv) might cause some difficulties, if this is the problem, how can this be fixed?

I look forward to your suggestions. Kindly, Milla


6 Answers 6


Try using Libre Office. It is a Free and Open Source Office (MS Office compatible) application. Libreoffice.org - You can open the xls file with it and save as csv. I have used it numerous times, it comes pre-installed in ubuntu (which reminds me I should make a donation to the project)

Let us know how you get on.


I had the same issue, and I noticed when opening the CSV file (that I had created in Mac excel) in textedit, the separator was a ; rather than , After replacing I could import without issue.


Milla - when we have hit issues with imports of a csv we have often succeeded by simply copying out the content of the csv and pasting in to a new csv. saving and then importing.

i have found that if i then re-save a csv it can cause issues and the above trick gets around it.


I use Mac MS Office all the time to create csv files to import into civi without issue.

Civi parses the file looking for the correct format. It doesn't care what the file name is. So for some reason the csv file isn't either saving correctly or has extra things in it. Try saving the file as a csv. Then open it with TextEdit and look at the file. It should be something like this

ID,First Name,Last Name,Street Address
1,John,Smith,123 Easy Street
2,Jane,Jones,1 Main Street

You may or may not have the first row with the column names and the data between the commas may be inclosed in quotes.

If you file looks ok then you might need to look for hidden charaters.

You could also try the other csv formats. I see a couple of MS style cvs formats further down the list in the save as file type.

Other possibilities are the character set. The code has UTF8 all through it but I think other work.


Consult https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4221176/excel-to-csv-with-utf8-encoding for workarounds. Personnally i use iconv to do the conversion in a terminal window.

iconv -f WINDOWS-1252 -t UTF-8 data.csv > data.utf8.csv


I'm using LibreOffice on MacOS, best solution

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